This Old Fashioned Salmon Loaf is a retro dish of salmon, rice, and cottage cheese baked in casserole form with a crispy topping. Serve these salmon squares with a creamy sauce studded with peas and mushrooms.
Why you will love this casserole
- Retro dish - Today I'm going retro and sharing a dish from my childhood. This old-fashioned salmon loaf recipe is a mash-up of salmon cakes and meatloaf in casserole form. This dish is casual and easy to make. The delicious cream sauce elevates it, making it perfectly suited for serving to guests.
- Nutritious - This savory salmon loaf is packed full of nutrient-rich ingredients. Salmon is rich in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. Cottage cheese is low-fat and is also full of protein. The cream sauce is made with 1% milk to keep it lighter and lower in fat. Added veggies provide nutritious flavor.
- Adds variety to your routine dinner menu. This dish provides a nice change from baked chicken, pasta, or tacos. This casserole is a unique way to incorporate fish into your mealtime rotation.
If you love this salmon rice casserole, be sure to try Blackened Salmon with Couscous and Scallion Butter.
- Salmon - I prefer using fresh salmon. Roast and flake the salmon before adding it to the other ingredients. Canned salmon can also be used. This recipe is a great way to use up leftover salmon.
- White rice - Adds structure and substance to the casserole.
- Cottage cheese - This ingredient may seem a little strange, but trust me on this one. It adds creaminess and moisture to the dish.
- Onion and green pepper - Provides flavor, crunch, and a bit of color.
- Soy sauce - For a subtle salty flavor.
- Eggs act as the binding agent to hold the mixture together.
- Crushed saltines and Parmesan cheese - These crackers give the dish a crunchy topping. Panko bread crumbs can be used in place of the saltine crackers.
This baked salmon loaf recipe is served with a white cream sauce filled with peas, mushrooms, and pimientos.
- Butter, flour, and milk are the staples in a basic white sauce.
- Mushrooms - I like to add fresh mushrooms that have been sautéed until golden brown and caramelized. Traditionally, canned mushrooms were used in this recipe. I prefer fresh, but both work fine.
- Peas - Frozen peas add ease, convenience, and bright color.
- Pimientos - These are optional, but I love the pop of color these give the sauce.
See the recipe card for complete instructions and ingredient amounts.
- Brush the salmon with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Cool and flake apart.
If using canned salmon, simply drain it, discard any bones, and flake it apart.
- Combine the salmon, rice, cottage cheese, onion, green pepper, soy sauce, black pepper, and eggs in a large mixing bowl. Fold together until well combined.
- Pour the mixture into a greased 9x9 baking dish.
- Top with crushed crackers and Parmesan cheese. Drizzle with olive oil or melted butter.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until set and golden brown on top. Let rest while you make the sauce.
- Cook the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of butter until brown and caramelized. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate.
- Add 3 more tablespoons of butter to the skillet. When melted, whisk in the flour, and cook for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk and whisk until smooth. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Season with salt and pepper and stir in the mushrooms, peas, and pimientos (optional). Cook for one minute until warmed through.
- Slice the salmon loaf into squares and serve with lemon wedges and a spoonful of the creamed peas.
This old-fashioned salmon loaf is perfect for a ladies' lunch, dinner on busy weeknights, or as a main dish for guests. Serve with a salad or with a side dish of veggies.
Store the salmon loaf and the cream sauce separately in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
For individual servings, salmon loaf reheats very well in the microwave. For larger servings, cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil and heat in a 350-degree oven until warmed through. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Stir in a splash of milk if necessary.
More Salmon Loaf pairings
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- 14-16 ounces cooked fresh salmon (flaked OR 14-16 ounces canned salmon, drained and flaked - Notes 1 and 2)
- 2 cups cooked white rice
- 16 ounces cottage cheese
- ½ cup finely diced onion (about 1 small onion)
- ¼ cup diced green pepper
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 large eggs (beaten)
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 cup crushed saltine crackers (approx. ⅔ sleeve of crackers)
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons olive oil (or melted butter)
- 4 ounces mushrooms (like Baby Bella)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (divided)
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup 1% milk (Note 3)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 2 tablespoons diced pimientos (optional)
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt (or to taste)
- ⅛ teaspoon white pepper (or to taste)
- lemon wedges (for serving)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9x9 baking dish. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the salmon loaf ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Top with the crushed saltines and grated Parmesan. Drizzle with the oil.
- Bake for 45 minutes until set and golden brown on top. Allow to rest while making the sauce.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add one tablespoon of butter and mushrooms. Saute until golden and caramelized, approx. 5 minutes. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. When melted, whisk in the flour until well incorporated. Cook for one minute. Slowly add the milk, whisking to create a smooth sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes to allow the sauce to thicken.
- Season with salt and white pepper. Stir in the peas, mushrooms, and pimientos. Cook for one minute until heated through.
- Cut the salmon loaf into squares. Serve with a wedge of lemon and spoon the sauce over the top.
- To cook the fresh salmon, brush with oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 425 degrees until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 145 degrees. Flake the salmon before adding to the rest of the ingredients.
- If using canned salmon, drain it, pick through it carefully to discard any bones, and then flake it apart.
- Whole or 2% milk can be substituted for 1%. I don't recommend using fat-free milk due to its higher water content.
- Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
- To reheat, cover the casserole with aluminum foil and bake in a 350-degree oven until warmed throughout. Reheat the sauce in a saucepan over low heat. Thin with a splash of milk if necessary. Smaller portions can be reheated in the microwave.
Nutritional information is an estimate and will vary depending upon the exact amounts and specific ingredients used.